my pregnancy journal

when i found out i was pregnant, i thought it would be nice to keep a diary during my pregnancy, so that i could look back on it in the future and remember the experience.  i also thought 봉봉이 might like to look at it later on too. i’ve been keeping the diary fairly consistently (just a few weeks behind now, haha) and i’ll be posting a few times per week so i can get as caught up as possible before 봉봉이 comes.

4 weeks journal

i knew i was pregnant the night before i took the pregnancy test. i was feeling super emotional and ravenously hungry and was running to the bathroom constantly to pee, but i wanted to wait until i had officially missed my period before taking the test because i’d had a few disappointments before and they are crushing.

i took the test the next morning and it returned a positive result almost instantly and my first thought was “i’m going to get so fat,” followed quickly by a weird mix of happiness, disbelief, and numbness.  i sat around for a few hours taking it all in, and when it felt reasonable to wake my husband up, i went back upstairs to our room and sat on the bed next to him.  “what have you been doing?” he asked and i said, “taking a pregnancy test.”

4 weeks photo 4weeks_zpshmoqlexz.jpg

*side note, i didn’t know they count weeks pregnant from the first day of your last period. so for example, when you think you’re 1 week pregnant, it’s actually 4. this also means you’re theoretically pregnant for 10 months rather than 9. it’s weird.

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starting a family

if you follow me on instagram, you might have seen that we are expecting our first child in november.  i don’t personally believe in the idea of being blessed, but i do feel such gratitude for this baby i’m growing right now because it feels like it took us so long to get to this point.

specifically, we tried for a little under two years to get pregnant before we finally had success.  i know it may not seem like much time when compared to other couples, but we had tests done and there was nothing “wrong” with my husband and nothing apparently “wrong” with me, which made things all the more frustrating. why was it taking so long? i was 26 and otherwise quite healthy when we started trying, so it’s not like i was “too old” or had a condition that would have made conception difficult.  yet there we were, month after month of diligently trying with no success.

i got acupuncture for the better part of 2017 and took the accompanying chinese herbs, tried two rounds of 한약 from our 한의원 in atlanta, changed my diet and exercise routine, did tons of reading and research, and tracked my cycle and symptoms religiously, all to no avail.  it was only when i quit my job at the end of last year that i got pregnant (less than two months later).  was it stress from work that had been standing in the way?  or had we simply been trying for so long that we eventually got lucky?

in the time that we had been trying, it seemed like everyone on my social media and in my real life were getting pregnant and having babies of their own.  my first response was always jealousy: were they even trying? why can’t it happen to me too? why is everything so unfair? (tbh i got kind of angsty there for a while). but when i heard some of their stories, i realized that most women don’t talk openly about trying to conceive, and that unless they feel safe sharing their struggles, there’s no way of knowing how much trouble someone might have gone through to get to the point of a public pregnancy announcement.  perhaps their pregnancy had been the result of years of trying or had happened with the assistance of medical interventions or had followed the painful loss of a miscarriage.  i eventually abandoned my angst when i realized how unfair it is to rush to any kind of judgments about anyone’s personal journey.  after all, pregnancy isn’t a finite resource.  we aren’t competing to get pregnant, and difficulty doing so is not something we should be made to feel ashamed of.

other women’s pregnancy announcements aside, i think the main reason the past two years were so challenging for me was because of how taboo the topic of sex and pregnancy were during my formative years.  i grew up believing that pregnancy was the automatic result of sex, that it was all too easy to get pregnant, and that, unless you met the socially acceptable circumstances of being a married adult, getting pregnant was the worst thing you could do.  i thought that if i had sex, i would get pregnant, and if i got pregnant, my life would be ruined.  my fear of sex had led to a disgust with and mistrust of my body for my entire life, and caused me to be always walking on eggshells, terrified that one wrong move would destroy everything.  so when i actually wanted to get pregnant, i was shocked to discover that it really wasn’t all that easy.  nothing had prepared me for how hard it might be to get pregnant, and this realization made me angry.  i am still angry about it now.

the limited sex education i had received from my family and my school meant that i had many gaps in my knowledge.  over the past two years, i have learned so many things about my body and my health that i wish i had been told when i was much younger.  it has been amazing and kind of rad to learn exactly how my body works, but at the same time I am so sad that I had not gotten this information sooner, and that i had to learn it from a nameless, faceless internet.

during the past few years, i was more often than not in a pretty low place, and to work through my feelings, i drew.  i decided to share those drawings here on this blog and write this post because, at least where i live, we do not talk about women’s bodies and fertility in an open or positive way and i think that adding my own thoughts and experiences is one way to contribute to the conversation.  even though it did not take me as long as it took other couples, even though my story ends with eventually getting pregnant, even though, even though, even though—my story and my journey is just as valid as the next person’s and it’s just as worthy of sharing.  so to that end, every pregnancy-related cartoon i drew over the past two years are saved under the “stories” —> “starting a family” menu if you’re interested in reading them.  and, as a reward for making it this far, here’s the first ultrasound of our little babe. i know i’m biased but i think it’s pretty cute.

9wk4daysVer2.jpg

 

 

trip to atlanta

011.Trip to Atlanta

in january of 2017, we took a spontaneous weekend trip to atlanta.  atlanta is about 3 hours away and my husband goes at least twice a month for work and korean dentist and korean haircuts and also we used to live there, so it’s not necessarily a super exciting destination but there is korean town, which we miss dearly since we now live in the middle of nowhere.

i was exhausted and sad from another unsuccessful month trying to make han dynasty actually happen, so we drank a lot of 소주 and ate 대패삼겹살 and did 노래방.

when he initially suggested going to atlanta, it was the last thing i wanted to do.  i just wanted to stay home and wallow all weekend.  but it ended up being such a cathartic night that i felt refreshed and renewed (and massively hungover, but that’s the price you pay for emotional release). i mean, when you sing bohemian rhapsody 5 times in a row*, how could you not feel like you’ve emptied your feelings and turned a new page? it was exactly what we needed.

*i highly recommend this as a remedy for any kind of heartbreak. 

cartoon originally drawn march 18, 2017  

 

009. it hurts

 photo 009. It Hurts_zpsudng3zx4.jpg

here’s something i didn’t really want to talk about on the internet (or to anyone at all if i’m being honest): i’m having trouble getting pregnant.

i have scrapped this post so many times because it’s terrifying to admit to random strangers on the internet that i’m having this kind of issue, information i’ve only shared with a handful of people irl.  every time i started to write this post, a voice in my head was like, whoa, hang on. are you sure you want to share your personal business so publicly?  and the answer, at last, is yes.

for my entire life i have been worried about what other people think of me.  but recently i read this article and i was like, you know what? fuck that.  i’m tired of seeking the approval of people i don’t respect.  i’m tired of feeling like i need to get permission from others to do the things i want to do.  news flash: i don’t need anyone’s approval but my own.

so i decided to make a change, starting with the very personal business of my reproductive health.

i know i’m not the only one out there going through this.  every time i discover that someone i follow on social media had trouble getting pregnant, i search for their story, desperate for a little hope or inspiration.  because it’s been hard for me.  i’m stuck on an endless roller coaster of emotions, and not a fun roller coaster.  one of those old rickety ones that snaps you back and forth and you’re sitting there clenching the safety bar like, when is the last time this thing was inspected? because it feels like it might collapse at any moment.  and you can’t stop the thoughts that fill your mind, like: why can’t my body seem to do the one thing it was programmed to do? and how long will it take me to conceive? will i ever get there? and sometimes: do i even want to get there anymore?  it goes on and on and on.

and here’s another thing.  the whole infertility/difficulty conceiving thing being shrouded in so much shame? that’s bullshit.  there is so much secrecy and misinformation surrounding the female body and i’m sick of it.  and what i can do now to try and change this is to join the conversation myself.  maybe my story will help someone else feel not so alone.  and maybe no one will ever read this. and that’s fine too.

but if you’ve come this far, i’m not asking for sympathy or advice, and i’m not fishing for words of encouragement. i am simply putting my thoughts into words and pictures and leaving it out there.  a kind of self therapy to help me process the tough stuff.  i am feeling my feelings and moving on.

here we go.

the caption to this cartoon drawn on march 12, 2017:

why didn’t anyone tell me how difficult it is to get pregnant? (or, more like why did everyone make it sound so easy?)

i’ve found myself lying on the bathroom floor with a late period and a negative pregnancy test more times than i thought i would when we started and it hurts.